James Alexander, former Manager of Trust and Safety and long-time employee since August 2010, quietly quits the Wikimedia Foundation. Amid much speculation on Wikipedia criticism forum Wikipediocracy and nary a word on Wikimedia's WordPress website, Alexander, from whom all mention has been carefully eradicated, has apparently made his exit from the San Francisco office using the back stairs.
GorillaWarfare, an arbitrator on the English Wikipedia appears to be best informed, and explains in one of her posts on Wikipediocracy: "Before some folks here get their conspiracy theories out, there wasn't a coup or anything. I really wish the WMF would announce these kinds of changes on the mailing lists before removing the userrights, it would save a lot of wild speculation." On 15 December, the James Alexander's WMF account user page on Meta was tagged as historical by steward MarcoAurelio, while his personal Wikipedia user page, personal website, and LinkedIn entry continue to list him (as of 5 January) in his WMF capacity.
On Twitter, Alexander informed his followers that he is currently enjoying a well-earned break in Hawaii, before starting his new job as Safety Operation Manager at Twitter, working with the Periscope team.
Alexander came to the forefront for two issues during the 2018 Wikimania in South Africa when, exercising his authority, he forbade one volunteer event helper to continue his work as reported in our August 2018 Special Report, and withdrew the registration of a South African newsman and anti-apartheid activist from the conference for reasons that were later confirmed to be partly incorrect as documented in YouTube (from 26:51) and had him ejected from the venue.
The Wikimedia Foundation has informed The Signpost that Alexander's 'transition' was well prepared with German contractor Jan Eissdfeldt, the lead manager of Trust & Safety, to whom the position reported, and that Eissfeldt has been working with the Trust & Safety team to figure out the best alignment to meet the team's upcoming goals. As to the circumstances surrounding Alexander's departure or why it was not even mentioned, other than: "The Foundation doesn't discuss general personnel changes, to respect the right to privacy of our staff", the WMF has declined to comment further.
The reasons for Alexander's demission and why he was not publicly thanked for his 8 years work remain unknown.
I don't know Jan Eissdfeldt in person and I know nothing about him, but i know for a longer time Wikimedia-De is clearly involved in Wikimedia-Nl.
WP-De is one of the few wiki's in Europe what is done a good job in m y opinion, and is -as far as I know- nor ruled by a bunch of idiots.
Special there articles about narrow-gauge trains I like very, very much and are worth a huge compliment, just like there way of working on Wikiquote. In general my impression of them is good.
And is also a wise decision to hire someone from Africa for African affairs, a American can't handel that. Very wise.
Wikimedia-De has someone in their house who can read Dutch and write it on a high, near professional level, so he can read perfect Dutch.
The German and the Dutch mentality is very close, we are very, very good neighbours, and many Germans are welcome guest in Holland every year and visa-versa.
So, this seems to me a logical choice and I think the best thing to do is to give Jan the time to figure out everything, because it is all very complex and to give him and his (German) team the benefit of the doubt.
That is what I am doing at least. Germans in general are friendly, hard working people who very good know what they are doing.
For me this statement is enough for now.
And our complexes about the past we leave for voetbal. Because Germany has done a great job to get a modern, democratic state, and to be a very good neighbour.